Plants and berries
Particularly crowberries and blueberries are very popular in Greenland. So popular even that the Greenlandic name for these berries, paarnat or paarmat (depending on the region), is used to form many girl’s names such as Paarma, Parnuna, Paarnuna and Parnannguaq. The berry bushes in Greenland are all very low as berries on higher branches will not stand a chance in the wind. If you visit Greenland during late summer or fall, you might come across a lot of bottoms popping up in the rocky landscape, as many people go berry-picking. Berries are eaten raw (perhaps with milk for breakfast or dessert), preserved or used for ice cream.
Gathering mushrooms is a relatively new pastime in Greenland. It has always been known that it is possible to eat mushrooms, but as in all other places, not all mushrooms are edible, and most people have thought “better safe than sorry”. Only recently, in the past decades, it has become popular to gather the edible mushrooms. If you are a mushroom expert, or if you are walking with one, you can expect some great experiences while gathering mushrooms in Greenland, where they are used in the same way as in other countries.
In Greenland, angelica is in high demand. Especially the stems, which look like celery or pale rhubarb, are used for cooking or eaten raw. Most people like the wonderful, strong flavour, while evil tongues claim that it tastes like soap. Angelica can also be used for snaps, and some people chop it up and freeze it into ice cubes, giving your ice water a light angelica flavour as the ice cubes melt.
You are not likely to find a garden in Greenland that does not have a dedicated rhubarb bed. Therefore, you are instead very likely to come across rhubarb tart, stewed rhubarb and rhubarb preserve on Greenlandic coffee tables.
Southern Greenlandic potatoes have become quite common on Greenlandic dinner tables across the country. Global warming has been rough on Northern Greenland where it is difficult for the sealers and fishermen to get out on the ice in winter. In Southern Greenland, however, the vegetable producing season has become longer and, consequently, more and more potatoes are grown.
In other regions of the world, turnips are often used for feed and sugar production, but in Greenland, we love eating the turnips raw. They are, of course, also used in soups and preserves, but it is in their raw state that they are popular with many Greenlanders. You can almost compare the turnips to strawberries in other countries. As the first turnips arrive in stores from the sheep farms, people queue up to buy them.
You have to gather quite a lot of bluebells in order to make real use of them, but if you are patient enough, you can use the bellflowers in salads or as a jelly.